The government has introduced a number of measures to help control the spread of COVID-19 in the UK. The exact guidance on what you can and can't do varies between the different nations of the UK. For more information, visit the full guidance for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
In general, you should:
- Limit the number of people you see; the more people you interact with, the more chance the virus has to spread. The exact guidance on how many people are permitted to meet indoors and outdoors varies between England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
- Work from home if you can. Your employer should support you to do this. If your workplace is open and you cannot work from home, you can go to work. Your employer should have made sure your place of work is 'COVID-secure'.
- Keep a safe distance away from people who are not members of your household, extended household or support bubble.
- Wash your hands often using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser if hand-washing facilities aren’t available.
- Avoid crowded places as much as possible.
- Consider wearing a face covering if you have to go to an enclosed public space.
- You must wear a face covering on public transport and shops throughout the UK.
- In England, Scotland and Wales, you must wear a face covering in other indoor public places where you are likely to come into contact with people you don't know, such as museums, libraries, indoor recreation venues, community centres and places of worship. In Northern Ireland, face coverings are recommended, but not mandatory, in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not possible.
- Some people are exempt from wearing face coverings. The list of exemptions is slightly different in England , Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The government has produced downloadable exemption badges and cards for people who are exempt to use if they want to. However, people who are exempt from wearing a face covering should not be asked for proof of their exemption. You do not need a letter from the government or your doctor stating that you are exempt from wearing a mask.
- Avoid anyone with possible symptoms of coronavirus. These symptoms include a high temperature and/or a new, continuous cough and/or a loss of or change in your sense of taste or smell.
- Self-isolate and arrange to have a test for COVID-19 if you have symptoms of COVID-19. You should also self-isolate if anybody else in your household, extended household or support bubble has symptoms of COVID-19.
This guidance is also summarised in the government guidance on what you can do to help reduce the spread of coronavirus and in Public Health England's visual guide to working and living safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There is separate guidance for people who live in areas of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales that have local restrictions or are in local lockdown due to a rise in the number of coronavirus infections.
If you are over 70 or you have an underlying health condition that means you are eligible to have the annual flu vaccine, you are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. The government calls this group of people ‘clinically vulnerable’. If you are in this group, you should take particular care to follow the current social distancing guidelines. The government has issued guidance for households that include people who are clinically vulnerable.
If you have a serious health condition, you are at very high risk of severe illness from COVID-19. The government calls this group of people ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’. If you are in this group, you should have received a letter from the government or from your GP advising you what to do. Many people with lymphoma are considered to be in this group.
If this is the case for you, please refer to our guidance on shielding for people with lymphoma. This information is based on the full government advice for people in extremely vulnerable groups.
Shielding has been paused in all nations of the UK. The government advice is that you no longer need to shield unless you live in some areas that have local restrictions or are in local lockdown due to a rise in the number of coronavirus infections. People who are considered to be 'extremely vulnerable' remain on the shielded patient list so they can be contacted if the advice changes.
If you think you are at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and you have not yet received a letter or been contacted by your GP, you should discuss this with your GP or hospital clinician.